fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Monday, August 11, 2008

Board and bored no more




There comes a day in every young man's life, when something tall and thin and fair catches his eye. And he is in love.

Lots of kids surf. Those kids (*ahem* "grommets") can be subcategorized into two groups: Kids who like to surf and surfers. Now, the difference between being a surfer and a kid who likes to surf is not skill level. It's more like how the following questions are answered:

Who was the first president of the United States? Answer: Duke Paoa Kahanamoku
Who said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,"? Answer: George Freeth, when he landed on Redondo Beach
What do you want for dinner? Answer: Soft wax

You might also recognize certain behaviors to distinguish a surfer from a kid who likes to surf. My kid, for example, picks through the corn chips to find the best shaped corn tubes to surf. Corn chips. 

Well, the whole corn chip incident sealed it for me: This meant the child had outgrown the foamy and it was time the kid got a hardboard.

Now there are plenty of surf shops around. I even think there's a liquor store in El Porto that has a guy shaping boards upstairs. The shop where Jack got his new board is old school, the interior decorating consists mostly of stickers and stolen "No Trespassing" signs from preferred surf spots. What sealed the deal for me with this shop was the fact that instead of playing the Vengents (which would have been okay), they played--cross my heart--a recording of some Dude-with-a-capital-"D" talking and talking and talking with meditative music in the backgroud, explaining how surfing is the highest form of human existence. No lie: Things like, "For thousands of years, man made cliff dwellings and collected nuts for the winter. And the more nuts he collected, the better off he was. But man got it wrong. Life is not about nuts. It's about being on a higher level. That level is surfing." No lie: It will happen to the best of them, at some point, a surfer will actually say aloud that a certain wave was created for him by the breath of God and he was at one with the universe. A surf shop that will play an audio recording of such testimonial is enough over the line that I am pretty sure I'll get a good deal. They aren't in it (totally) for the money.

Hey, surfing's healthy and existentialist! I'm good with that. Bring on the soft wax.

I can't surf. I'm more a soul of letters, like my man Mark Twain wrote of his Hawai'ian adventures in Roughing It:

 "I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself. The board struck the shore in three-quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me."

I think my Jack Langdon is a bit closer to what Jack London described in 1907: "Where but the moment before was only the wide desolation and invincible roar, is now a man, erect, full statured, not-struggling frantically in that wild movement, not buried and crushed and buffeted by those mighty monsters, but standing above them all, calm and superb, poised on the giddy summit, his feet buried in the churning foam, the salt smoke rising to his knees, and all the rest of him in the free air and flashing sunlight, and he is flying through the air, flying forward, flying fast as the surge on which he stands. He is a Mercury-a brown Mercury. His heels are winged, and in them is the swiftness of the sea."

Righteous!

3 comments:

wondermommy said...

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Miss K.P.-Ness said...

Yep- they are Stoked on Surfing. I buy the Long board chips at Trader Joes- because they look like fingerboards that look like skateboards. They have gone over-board. But I love our boys for that.
Soon they will say things like- "Gnarly double overhead firing barrels" and that will be cool too- I think.

Nic said...

eddie would go.

k, that comment doesn't really fit, but it's been a long time since i've had a surf related conversation with anyone, so i had to throw that out there while i could.

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